When you agree to do anything with the media, you give up a lot of control. Which is what happened in Jamie Grumet's case. The Time magazine cover with Grumet breastfeeding her then 3-year-old son with the coverline "Are you mom enough?" was controversial and had most people completely misunderstanding what it means to be an Attachment Parent.
She followed up that Time cover wisely with an interview in Pathways to Family Wellness. The cover is a beautiful family portrait of the Grumets. Jamie is nursing Aram, the toddler who looked so big on the Time cover, and her husband Brian and adopted son Samuel are all cuddled together.
Jamie recently said that Aram, now 4, is "done" with breastfeeding. But that's not what should be the big deal here. The big deal is Jamie.
Grumet told Today:
Look, I’m not an advocate of breastfeeding, but I’m an advocate for normalizing it.
This is what makes her a hero for all moms, for all kids. Basically she's saying if you can't or don't want to breastfeed, then don't. Do what's right for you and your family. But if you are a breastfeeding mom, you shouldn't be made to feel odd about nursing your infant in public or breastfeeding your son until he's 4.
Mainstream media wants to make Attachment Parents seem like crazy, smothering freaks with a breast obsession. When it's really the general public's obsession with thinking breasts are only sexual objects that is the problem. And that is what is wrong here. Not the fact that Jamie nursed Aram until he was done. Breasts are a food source. This is just fact. Also a fact? Fifty-seven percent of Americans don't want to see women breastfeeding in public.
Despite it all, Jamie doesn't have regrets, but she did say that if she had creative control over what cover shot Time chose, she would have went with something more like Pathways to Family Wellness.
But we all know that cover wouldn't have sold as many magazines.
Jamie turned down many media opportunities after that, even saying no to a reality show because she felt it was exploitive. They wouldn't have gotten it right, anyway. Unless they had Sara Lamm and Mary Wigmore, the filmmaking mothers behind Birth Story: Ina May Gaskin and the Farm Midwives working on it.
Jamie's busy homeschooling her kids and working on The Fayye Foundation, a charity she runs to help curb the orphan crisis in Ethiopia. Her son, Samuel, was adopted from there. Jamie shouldn't be defined by that Time cover. It's just a snapshot of a moment in her life. A life that should be highly regarded.
Even though Attachment Parenting was terribly misunderstood as a result of it all, it did bring the conversation to the mainstream. If any person who wasn't in the know of what AP is all about spoke to someone who did, they learned. They saw how it is just a way to parent, and even if you don't want to parent in the same way, it should be respected. I think if everyone knew more about Attachment Parenting, they will actually see that they probably are a little bit AP, too.
If not, ever heard of live and let live? No one's getting hurt here -- this is actually something good for kids. We're not all going to be the same with the same beliefs ... even when it comes to parenting.
What do you think? Did you breastfeed longer than "society" thinks you should? Do you think people understand AP better now?
Image via Pathways to Family Wellness